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Porcelain

PORCELAIN, the name of that kind of ceramic ware which is characterized by a translucent body, also loosely used for the finer kinds of ware generally, popularly known as " china " (see CERAMICS). The French porcelaine, from which the word comes into English, is an adaptation of the Italian porcellana, a cowrie-shell, the beautifully polished surface of which caused the name to be applied to the ware. The Italian word is generally taken to be from pqrcella, diminutive of porco, pig, from a supposed resemblance of the shell to a pig's back.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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